Whether you are now selling digital media or not, the advantages of either doing it exclusively or even adding it to a physical product line are big:
But whether you are adding a digital download shopping cart from scratch or adding a digital delivery shopping cart section, there are some key considerations you should consider before taking the complete plunge into a digital products shopping cart creation effort.
Unless you plan on producing your own digital download content, it will hard to stand out as a digital products shopping cart creator. But that shouldn't stop engaging in this type of business model as there is so much demand for this type product. The key is in deciding what to stock and how to market it with a distinct advantage for your projected customer base including:
While creating a price advantage may be an obvious approach, many publishers restrict pricing so that all distributors must offer the same levels. This can also make promotions difficult, so when evaluating which products to take on, look at overall pricing and ask if "fixed pricing" is a mandate. (Of course, fixed prices can eliminate a competitor's advantage over you so they can be an advantage as long as larger volume distributors are also bound to this rule.)
Keeping track of payments to the original publishers may also be an issue, particularly if you are constructing more of a "one off" type of product line. Larger distributors and sources may likely require download from their servers to help them keep track of this issue, although you may be able to negotiate serving from you digital shopping cart to maintain more control.
Whether you are going to be some type of content producer or a reseller of other's content depends upon your own business model approach. While it may seem daunting to create content that is indeed saleable, there are usually many options outside of taking the time of doing it yourself. These can include:
Of course you can offer any type of restricted rights download, many of which come pre-packaged by some groups into areas or sections of products.
While there are many ways to actually distribute your digital downloads including from your own server or using a totally packaged approach, most of these either have per unit costs associated with the download, or can require technical expertise and maintenance that many online merchants are not able or willing to provide. A middle ground is to choose a digital-download enabled shopping cart, capable of supporting virtual or downloadable products. Some key considerations in reviewing or choosing this feature include:
You may also want the ability to actually distribute and sell physical media since some buyers may want a CD (particularly in the case of software).
As with any new product you add, marketing should be included in your normal activities which may include:
However, digital media served through a digital goods shopping cart do open up more potentials for using the products themselves in promotional efforts. For instance, running "sampling" campaigns can be very valuable (depending upon any rights limitations from the sources if you aren't the original publisher). In this mode, various snippets or excerpts are posted to other websites and/or provided to other media sources such as online magazines or blogs. A technique for gaining greater recognition and use of this type of offering is to associate it with (or "peg" it) to any current item that is being searched for on a volume basis. For example, if there is a current legal dispute involving a particular notable person who may have made racially charged remarks, and you have a training package for anti-discrimination, you may be able to tie the two together, as in "Effective Anti-Discrimination Training A Deterrent For Problems Like Anytown, USA Mayor Has Recently Experienced".
Another technique involves "cross-media" sampling. This is where the content exists in one medium (say an audio book) and you transcribe it into text to be distributed in part. The value of this is that the content typically has not been translated into print before and will be considered "unique" or non-duplicated text by search engines and potentially ranked higher.